The word occult is totally inappropriate here. Mithraism existed independently of or even before Christianity and was therefore NOT some Satanic or Occult cult.
Raher it was a CYCLIST religion put in practice and as such perfect for a modern post-secular religious or metaphysical experience. The bullfighting in Spain and France is a typical remnant of Mithraic culture.
And the exclusion of women is a myth. Many mithraea have traces of women found in them, including seating especially reserved for women. It's just that Mithraism was especially popular among soldiers in the Roman Empire who happened to be men. That's all.
It's just that Mithraism is surrounded by so much Christian bullshit it is unbelievable. But then again, Mithraism was (and perhaps still is) the chief opponent to Christianity.
2010/9/20 Special Kain
We only know very little about Mithraist philosophy, dear Syn. For example, what we know for certain is that there were occultist secret societies where everybody was welcome to join - except for women. They were obsessed with astronomy and astrology. But since they were forbidden to tell anybody else about their secret rituals, we don't know what was really going on in those caves.